Investigating the Long-Term Effects of Physical Child Abuse

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Everyday there are children being abused by someone who is supposed to protect them. An estimated 905,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2006(Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2008). In 1996, more than three million victims of suspected abuse were reported to child protective services agencies in the United States (Baker, 2002). The numbers have changed and still many cases of abuse go unreported. The number of incidences of child abuse rises when the family is under stress, such as being in our economy. The effects of physical abuse can last a lifetime and are measured by the physical, psychological, behavioral, or social outcomes. Normal physical abuse scenario involves a parent who loses control and lashes out at a child and the trigger may be normal child behavior (Baker, 2002). Not all child abuse experience is the same. Some can overcome the issues after a short period of time, but for others it may take a lifetime. Results of individual cases vary widely and are affected by a combination of factors such as age of the child, developmental status, type of abuse, duration, and relationship between the victim and the abuse (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2008). The damage of physical abuse is not only on the outside but it affects the psychological well being of the victim.

Many studies have been done looking at the different psychological outcomes after abuse. In Starr and Wolfe’s book The Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect (1991), they discuss the developmental outcomes of child maltreatment in a life span. Development in a child has critical period that can be effected if traumatized in the process. Aspects of low adult psychological outcome have been shown in some studies. It was found that...

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